Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More Interesting Vintage Beret Labels

Some new additions to my collection; little works of art in their own right:
Elvish, the beret of champions
Caddetou, after the picture books of the Béarnaise wine-loving, beret wearing monsieur Caddetou
Bizanos, depicting the typical combo of beret and umbrella

Monday, January 30, 2017

The mysterious 'F Huygen'

The only information I have on these pictures is that these are made by someone named F Huygen
So far, I have been unable to find out who he was, but he sure left a legacy of drawings of Basque people. 
His name suggests Dutch (or Flemish) origins, but that's just guessing. Any help would be much appreciated!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Destilerías Acha

Destilerías Acha is the oldest company in the Basque Country (founded in 1831), and after five generations is one of the oldest family businesses in Europe.
The distillery is located in the center of Amurrio, in the historical territory of Alava, since 1880. To date, the distillery continues to develop and manufacture over 150 varieties of spirits, distilled using traditional methods learned from their ancestors, combining artisanal manufacturing systems with the latest technology.

The liqueur Karpy has been Acha’s flagship for many years. Personally, I am much impressed with their 100% organic, ecologically sound, vodka's.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Harry August Jansen (Dante the Magician)

Harry August Jansen (1883 –1955) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and settled in the United States. He travelled the world as a professional magician under the name Dante the Magician.
Dante worked in in vaudeville, burlesque, legitimate theatre, films, and in later years, television. Dante and his troupe, consisting of between 25 and 40 performers, made several global trips and appeared in many U.S. theaters. His stage trademark was to utter three nonsense words, "Sim Sala Bim" (taken from the lyrics of a Danish children's song), during his performances to acknowledge applause. He can be seen using these words in the Swedish 1931 feature Dantes mysterier (Dante's Mysteries) and in the 1942 Laurel and Hardy comedy A-Haunting We Will Go.
In 1940 he produced and starred the Broadway revue Sim Sala Bim on the Morosco Theatre. With television, the public stayed home more often, and the world of variety theatre suffered drastically. As a result, Dante retired to Southern California in the late 1940s. He died at his ranch in Northridge, California, of a heart attack, at the age of 71.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Pyotr Zakharov-Chechenets

Pyotr Zakharov-Chechenets (1816-1852) was educated at the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. A child of three, orphaned when his native village of Dadi Yurt was taken by Russian troops, General Pyotr Yermolov, became his foster father. With brilliant artistic endowments, Pyotr studied art since childhood.
He graduated in 1836 to become a prolific painter and participate in many exhibitions. The portrait of General Alexei Yermolov, the conqueror of the Caucasus and Zakharov’s foster brother, and a self-portrait are the best-known of his works.
Pictured above a 1836 painting by Mikhail Scotti: "The Armenian Nersesov and the Chechen Zakharov", portraying the artist with a beret like hat not unsimilar to a Spanish Carlist beret with tassel.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Patufet is the main character of one of the most famous folktales of Catalan tradition.
Patufet is usually represented as a very small child the size of a rice grain, wearing a big red barretina so that his parents can better spot him around the place. He is curious and mischievous, until one day he decides to show the world that he's useful and reliable. According to some versions Patufet was good-natured and hard-working from the beginning. And of course, Patufet is also the logo for Barretines 100%!
The first task he sets about to do is to go to the shop to buy some saffron. Since people can't see him because he's so small, he avoids being trodden on by singing,
    Patim patam patum,
    Homes i dones del cap dret,
    Patim patam patum,
    No trepitgeu en Patufet
(Patim patam patum/ Men and women who come towards me/ Patim patam patum/ Don't tread on Patufet). 

The people he meets only see a coin that walks and sings but he manages to accomplish his task. Afterwards he decides to go to the farm fields to take lunch to his father. But Patufet is not lucky this time and gets eaten by an ox.
His parents go about looking for him, calling "Patufeeet, on eeets?" (Patufeeet, where are youuu?) and he replies from inside the ox,
    Sóc a la panxa del bou,
    que no hi neva ni plou.
    Quan el bou farà un pet,
    Sortirà en Patufet!
(I'm in the ox's tummy/ Where it doesn't snow or rain./ When the ox farts/ Patufet will get out). After a while they hear Patufet's little voice and his mother feeds the ox with herbs that make it fart faster.
This tale can be considered as a coming of age symbol.En Patufet was also the title of an influential children's magazine in Catalan published from 1904 to 1938, and again from 1968 to 1973. The figure of Patufet on the magazine was first drawn by Antoni Muntanyola.
Today Patufet is a familiar word in Catalan for a very little kid or for a children's publication.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


My youngest daughter, Emira Zaza, 13 years today!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Maor Zabar

Maor Zabar’s love of art started at a young age. The grandson of a tailor, he learned how to sew and play with fabric and above all, appreciate artisanry. 
He studied fashion and costume design at Shenkar college of design, and from there went on to design surreal and intricate costumes for many productions of dance, theatre and opera.
He has always loved hats. Once he learned the basics from a professional milliner he experimented with many techniques and found different ways to mold and shape and manipulate fabrics. 
With additions of paint, beads, a flair for theatricality and sometimes even insects, Maor started this line of wearable art.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Gun Crazy

Peggy Cummins (1925) is a retired Welsh-born Irish actress, best known for her performance in Joseph H. Lewis' Gun Crazy (1949), playing a trigger-happy femme fatale, who robs banks with her lover (played by John Dall).
The screenplay by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo—credited to Millard Kaufman because of the blacklist—and by MacKinlay Kantor was based upon a short story by Kantor published in 1940 in The Saturday Evening Post.
In an interview with Danny Peary, director Joseph H. Lewis revealed his instructions to actors John Dall and Peggy Cummins: “I told John, "Your cock's never been so hard," and I told Peggy, "You're a female dog in heat, and you want him. But don't let him have it in a hurry. Keep him waiting." That's exactly how I talked to them and I turned them loose. I didn't have to give them more directions.”
In 1998, Gun Crazy was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Jimmy Jump and his Catalan Barretina

His stunts have made him the most famous pitch invader in the world – but, with the prospect of bankruptcy looming, his actions have come at a cost.
Jimmy Jump, a 42-year-old Catalan whose real name is Jaume Marquet i Cot, has disrupted international sports and cultural events across the globe for at least the last decade. He now claims that 50 per cent of his monthly income is being automatically channelled through to unspecified legal authorities, in order to pay off the hundreds of thousands of euros worth of fines collected due to his antics.
“I have no money,” he told the website gazzetta.gr, “My total debt is around $350,000 (£220,000).” Mr Marquet i Cot first hit the headlines when he staged a one-man invasion of the starting grid during the parade lap of a Formula One grand prix at the Montmelo circuit near his birthplace of Sabadell, a town in Barcelona’s industrial hinterland. A diehard Barcelona fan, Mr Marquet i Cot then became a somewhat tediously regular, if uninvited feature of many of that team’s fixtures, invariably wearing his trademark barretina.
Perhaps the “highpoint” of his career, though, came at the 2010 World Cup. Mr Marquet i Cot covered the trophy with one of his barretinas minutes before the Spanish and Dutch finalists took to the pitch.
Also that year, he managed to find his way onto the stage during the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo, barretina and all.
“I didn’t know what happened until I heard the crowd react,” tennis star Roger Federer said when Mr Marquet i Cot wearing his barretina ran towards him during the French Open final in 2009. “So that gave me a fright seeing him so close.”
“Normally they look at you and say ‘sorry I have to do this’, but this guy looked at me and I was not sure what he wanted. He seemed to want to give me something.” – in Mr Marquet i Cot’s case, a barretina.
On his website, Mr Marquet i Cot says his predilection for barretines is due to the red Phrygian caps’ popularity amongst 1789 French revolutionaries, making them a symbol of liberty. He wishes, he writes, “to communicate the freedom of expression in an world which is increasingly under the control of the media”.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The 45th President

When I included the picture below in my second last newsletter, numerous people responded. Some liked it and were happy to see it there (one customer actually confessed that he uses his beret for this very purpose - what power of visualisation!), but others were negative in response (to say the least).
To the comment that I should stay out of politics, I can only say that Basque berets have always played a prominent role in world politics; sometimes on the "bad side", but mostly as a representation of humanity, of decency and intellectualism over primitive and aggressive behaviour. 
As a son of a holocaust survivor, having witnessed atrocities in many conflicts around the world (while working in medical emergency aid), having worked for Amnesty International, with refugees and asylum seekers for many years, I find it not right to stay quiet on this day - the inauguration of an American president who is openly and without any shame racist and sexist; who admirers murderous dictators; vows to step back on everything of the progress gained over the last years and cares about nothing but himself.  
On the risk of offending or losing customers, I can only say protect yourself and do good, from under your Shield.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Catalan Barretines!

New at South Pacific Berets: Catalan Barretines!
A barretina is a traditional Catalan man’s hat. It is a hat in the form of a bag, made of wool, traditionally red or purple. In variants, it was worn by people in various cultures around the Mediterranean Sea, like Catalonia, Valencia, Ibiza, Provence, Corsica, Sicily, Sardinia and parts of the Balkans and Portugal.

Today, use of the barretina is not common in everyday life, but it is regularly used in folklore dances, or as a symbol of Catalan identity. Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí were great advocates for the barretina. And recently, there has been resurgence in wearing barretines, due to the movement for Catalan independence.
South Pacific Berets stocks barretines from three traditional manufacturers from Catalonia; made according to age old tradition in acrylic or 100% natural wool, "nude" or fully lined, showing artisan craftsmanship and offering great comfort.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


These pictures were taken some 40-50 years ago, along the river Seine in Paris. 
The photographer describes the occasion as follows: "while walking along the Seine on a sunny afternoon, I see three men in thick blue woolen coats warming themselves in the late October sun. I recognize these coats; they come from "CASH" (the Home of Hospital and Home Care) in Nanterre.
Carrying my camera, I dare ask, after some hesitation, if I can take their portraits. One of them, the most assured, gives me his name and eyes the camera with a tranquil air.
The second one strikes more of a pose, staring at the horizon (but really, I think he doesn't dare look into the camera). 
The third man remains seated, looks a little frightened but still, doesn't refuse to have his picture taken. In those days, we called these people "clochards" (bums), but despite saying "homeless" now, I wonder if they are treated any better by society..."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dr Who's UNIT

UNIT, or Unified Intelligence Taskforce (formerly United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) is a fictional military organisation from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Operating under the auspices of the United Nations, its purpose is to investigate and combat paranormal and extraterrestrial threats to the Earth. In the original Doctor Who series, several UNIT personnel (such as the Brigadier) played a major role in the programme.
Following the broadcast of the 2005 Doctor Who series, executive producer Russell T Davies claimed that the UN were no longer happy to be associated with the fictional organisation, and the UN's full name could now no longer be used. However, the "UNIT" and "UN" abbreviations could be used, as long as it was not explained what the letters stood for. In 2008, he announced that the organisation's name had been changed to the "Unified Intelligence Taskforce". This new name was first mentioned on-screen in "The Sontaran Stratagem", also in 2008, in which it was indicated in a line of dialogue that the United Nations still supports UNIT with funding.
The berets of UNIT are for sale at a good price here